While the “comic” part of Comic-con was easy to find, it is safe to say that the PR war at San Diego was won by the movie studios. As Variety’s Tom McLean wrote, “The Hollywood machine appears to have completely and totally incorporated Comic-con into its annual marketing agenda.” Comic-con is now the single biggest marketing event of the year for movie studios, and they were rewarded with huge crowds at their booths and long lines to get into Hall H, where the studio presentations took place.
Perhaps the biggest buzz was for Marvel Studio’s Iron Man. Director Jon Favreau showed some well-received footage, and the star of the film, Robert Downey Jr., talked about being happy to finally be playing an action star. Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays love interest Pepper Potts, made a surprise appearance, and the unveiling of the actual Iron Man armor at the Marvel Booth set bloggers a-twittering. Marvel also showed some footage from the next Hulk movie, which just began shooting.
At Sony, 30 Days of Night starring Josh Hartnett as a lawman fighting an Alaskan vampire invasion comes out this fall, based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith. Producer Sam Raimi suggested he may produce some related shorts, and Niles has a host of sequels and tie-ins already available from IDW, so the chances for strong graphic novel sales are good.
Also poised for some increased sales is Oni’s Whiteout graphic novel, which has just been released in a new edition designed to tie-in with this fall’s film version, starring Kate Beckinsale as a marshal who must solve an eerie murder at the South Pole. The footage is very closely based on the look of the graphic novel, by writer Greg Rucka and artist Steve Lieber, and the movie poster is based on the original Frank Miller cover for the graphic novel.
As for DC properties, official confirmation of the casting for the adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen was leaked just before the show. Director Zack Snyder was on hand to show a poster and talk about his take on the film. Meanwhile, outside the convention center, a viral promotion for The Dark Knight—next summer’s Batman film—that involved putting the Joker’s face on dollar bills, garnered much attention.
Of course, the constant flow of comics-based material through Hollywood means that there’s always some new comic book movie deal to announce. Oni seemed to make the biggest splash at San Diego, with DreamWorks optioning both The Damned by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurrt, and Ted Naifeh’s goth-themed Courtney Crumrin.